Canine pulmonary edema | Pulmonary edema in dogs and cats


Causes of edema in dogs and cats

The same general mechanisms that cause edema elsewhere in the body cause edema in the pulmonary parenchyma. Major mechanisms are decreased plasma oncotic pressure, vascular overload, lymphatic obstruction, and increased vascular permeability.

Edema in dogs and cats is initially a fluid accumulation in the interstitium. However, because the interstitium is a small compartment, the alveoli are soon involved. When profound fluid accumulation occurs, even the airways become filled. Respiratory function is further affected as a result of the atelectasis and decreased compliance caused by compression of the alveoli and decreased concentrations of surfactant. Airway resistance increases as a result of the luminal narrowing of small bronchioles. Hypoxemia results from ventilation-perfusion abnormalities.

Clinical features of pulmonary edema in dogs and cats

Dogs and cats with pulmonary edema are seen because of cough, tachypnea, respiratory distress, or signs of the inciting disease. Crackles are heard on auscultation, except in animals with mild or early disease. Immediately preceding death from pulmonary edema, blood-thinged froth may appear in the trachea, pharynx or nares. Respiratory signs can be peracute, as in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or subacute, as in hypoalbuminemia. However, a prolonged history of respiratory signs (e.g., months) is not consistent with a diagnosis of edema in dogs and cats.

Pulmonary edema in most dogs and cats is diagnosed on the basis of the finding of the typical radiographic changes in the lungs in conjunction with clinical evidence (from the history, physical examination, radiography, echocardiography, and serum biochemical analysis (particularly albumin concentration) of a disease associated with pulmonary edema.

Early pulmonary edema in dogs and cats assumes an interstitial pattern on radiographs that progresses to become an alveolar pattern. In dogs, edema caused by heart failure is generally more severe in the hilar region. In cats, the increased opacities are more often patchy. Edema resulting from increased vascular permeability tends to be most severe in the dorsocaudal lung regions.

Canine pulmonary edema diagnostic plan:

Physical examination
Chest auscultation
Chest X-rays
Blood work

Canine pulmonary edema treatment:

Active restriction
Oxygen therapy
Drugs to strengthen the heart

Canine pulmonary edema dietary plan:

A diet based on individual patient evaluation including body condition and other organ system involvement or disease. Also, consider sodium restriction. We recommend this natural balanced real-meat dog food and natural dietary supplement for recovery.

We would love to hear your pet's story. Please add a comment.
We had a 3 month old puppy,(Beagle- Boxer mix)
that past away suddenly and unexpectedly from pulmonary edema. We came home from a 4hr. car trip with the dog, we let him out into our fenced yard while we unloaded our vehicle. He was outside for about 5 min. He came in and every thing seemed normal, he drank some water and romped around and played for 2-3 min. He then came into the kitchen and sat facing us looking very somber. We picked him up and he layed his head on our shoulder for about one minute. We put him down and he went into the living room, walked into the side of the couch and collasped onto the floor breathing rapidly. He lost control of his bowels, and then labored to get up on his front legs and then vomited. While we were contacting the vet, he did get up and walked 10 feet or so but he wobbled. We got him to the ER- Vet and he passed away shortly after. The vet mentioned that she has never seen before how rapidly his lungs filled with blood. He passed before any tests were ran. From the onset of symptoms till death was just over an hour. (We had to drive to the nearest ER-Vet which was 35 min. away.) The vet was thought is was from choking or being shocked, there was no evidence of being shocked anywhere. He didn't seem like he was choking. He just had his 2nd round of shots 1 week earlier and was wormed. It just doesn't add up. Was it a birth defect? Bad heart? We investigated poisning but could't come up with anything at our house or the house we visited? Please, anyone who could offer any info on this or if this happened to your pet please share with us. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
My 16 week old Corgi just died this Monday from acute pulmonary edema. Her symptoms were similar in that she was fine and playing one minute and passed out the next. When I picked her up she had glazed eyes, and her tongue was hanging out. Shortly afterward she began to cough up a foamy red fluid.

I'm curious, because she too had just had her second set of shots the previous week. She was also tested for poisons--negative and it was not electrical shock.

Intially our vet suspected our other dog had stepped on her, but by the end the vet dismissed that theory and put it down to a congenital defect, although without an autopsy they could not say for certain.
I'm sorry for both loses. Right now as I am writing this, we are anxiously waiting for our Vet to call us. Our 4 1/2 year old rottweiler
"squirt" is diagnosed with pulmonary edema.So he is in the hospital right now and they are running test on him.

Our squirt has a class 4 heart murmur which is the worst type of heart murmur. Which means he cannot be sedated if needed to be. Thats why comprehensive exams are so difficult for him and for us because of his heart murmur. He was born with it and they told us on his first exam when he was born that he won't survived past 2 years old but he did.

2 weeks ago our female dog was in heat and squirt end up working his heart to much in chasing her that caused pulmonary edema.
I'm writing this because your symptoms are almost like our squirt's
symptoms, so maybe you did not know that they have heart murmurs? I don't know, I'm not a Vet. I just hope that our squirt would survive this ordeal. Thank's for letting me share and also for reading.
we are devestated over the loss of our family member-our german shepherd. last weekend we were on our way home from a week at the beach. he was a big healthy boy. when we arrived at the motel sat. evening he felt hot and was having trouble laying down and would not eat but would drink some. i've gone over things a million times in my head - 'WHAT IF..." he did vomit some liquid a couple times and developed diarrhea in the am. we took him to an emergency vet that morning. they diagnosed him with pneumonia and gave fluids and antibiotics. they did xrays which showed a cloudy right lung. we could not see him for about 7 hrs. when we did see him he was laying on the floor with people working all around him busy with their other jobs. he walked into the place but at that point could hardly hold his head up. his 2 front paws were covered with thick slobber as he wasn't swallowing. the plan earlier in the day was for us to take him to a vet closer to home with his ivs and antibiotics in tow. while i was with him he had a liquid bowel movement and after wee cleaned him up one of the vets took a can of Oust and sprayed a large amount over top of my boy. 'WHAT IF...' he had no oxygen, no way to monitor his blood oxygen and the spray! someday i will send a copy of Nick Trouts book "tell me where it hurts" with a letter to this clinic. maybe i can somehow wake them up! we put the most precious thing we had in ours lives in the hands of these people, trusting them... anyway, we took our boy home and about 15 minutes after we left the vet, he had a pink frothy fluid coming from his mouth. immediately his breathing became more labored and then he quit breathing. i tried to help him but was unable... he died along side the interstate in our vehicle. later a large amount of pink liquid came from his mouth. how can pneumonia progress so fast? was it the beach salt water? he wasn't in the water very much. was it the water from the hose that he drank so much of? was it a tick?..... i want to know so i can make other people aware! if the pink fluid was pulmonary edema then his treatment was only hurting him. i'm upset with the care he got and i'm upset with myself! i don't want this to happen to anybody ever again!
I just bought a yorkie 3 weeks ago. She's now 14 weeks old and just got her first set of shots a little over a week ago. Her symptoms sound almost exactly the same as the first entry in this page. She had just woken up, eaten, and drank some water. She was then very hyper and playful as she usually is. She then went upstairs and disappeared. I thought that she had gone up to pee on her pee-pad. After a few minutes I went up to check up on her. She was lying in her cage (which is weird because she doesn't like being in there) and breathing very irregularly. She had vomited on the ground near her cage as well. When she tried walking, she didn't get too far before vomiting again and having diarrhea. We immediately brought her to the vet and they said that chances are that she has pulmonary edema which may have been from electricution. However, I came home and found no signs of bite marks on any outlet or cord.

Hollie is at the vet right now. The vet said from a scale of mild, medium, to severe, she is at severe. She seems to have low temperature (96.2) and low heart rate (80-85). There is fluid in her lungs. The vet also said that the chances of her surviving, even if I bring her to a hospital, are low. I really hope she can fight it and eventually come out of it. What frustrates me the most is that I don't know how she came to be about like this. Anyone have any ideas???
I wrote before about our dog "squirt" the 4 1/2 pound rotty. Well he passed away after 3 weeks that was April 2. We thought after he came home from the vet that he would make it a little longer, but his heart was just too weak. I just wish that there would be cure for our companions with class 4 heart murmur.
Our wonderful 10 year old golden retriever passed away yesterday with pulmonary edema. We did not know the diagnosis until after she passed away. She was always healthy and active. Three weeks ago she vomited during the night and the next morning was a little quieter than usual but generally OK. The next day she was back to her old self. This happened one other time about a week ago. Saturday morning we got up to another small vomit of undigested food. Since the vet in our small town in Alaska is not generally available on Saturday, and she had been fine with this earlier, we decided to take her in on Monday to see if we could figure it out. But Saturday evening she took a turn for the worst, with drooling and weakness. We called the vet at home and he met us at the clinic. Since she had thrown up earlier and was drooling he put in a IV and gave her an antiemetic. Her respiratory rate was about 30, but heart rate was not elevated and mucus membranes were pink. She seemed to perk up after the fluids, so we took her home. During the night she slept on and off, and continued to have the rapid respirations. At 7AM she just stopped breathing, no frothy or bloody sputum. The vet did a small autopsy afterward and said she had full blown pumonary edema but no real explanation as to WHY!!! I feel so bad that we missed this until it was too late. I am concerned that if this could have been due to poison from something that the other animals in the neighborhood could be at risk. Anyone have any ideas what could have caused this?